Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 25-07-2011, 09:49   #16
Marine Service Provider
 
AnchorageGuy's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Wherever the boat is!
Boat: Marine Trader 34DC
Posts: 4,618
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

Marti Brown is a good friend of ours and we highly recommend her book, "Marine SSB Radio for IDI-Yachts", for anyone just getting into SSB or for anyone not comfortable with it. Susan is the Ham operator on our boat and we have had a SSB on board since the early 90s. We would never leave home without it. Most serious long term, long distance cruisers we know still carry and use their SSB/Ham on a daily basis for communications, weather, and socializing. We consider it another piece of safety equipment just as most would consider a VHF. Learning to operate any piece of equipment onboard takes some individual initiative. There are no tests or instructors on how to use you GPS, chartplotter, autopilot, computer and many other devices. They come with a manual and we play around with them until we figure it out. Susan took the test to get her license and then spent a few hours at the radio with the manual and Marti's book and figured it out. She did not want me to help her. She often remarks that she had forgotten most of the stuff needed to pass the test since she never has occasion to use it. When we switched from our Icom 710 to an 802, the learning process started all over again for her, and me. That would not have helped if they had given instructions on radio operations during the test. Just my thoughts. Chuck
__________________

__________________
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

The Trawler Beach House
Voyages Of Sea Trek
AnchorageGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 09:59   #17
CF Adviser
 
Bash's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: sausalito
Boat: 14 meter sloop
Posts: 7,260
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

Ham is a bit too wanky. The training seems to be structured more to shore up the cult of amateur radio than to facilitate communication.
__________________

__________________
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
Bash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 10:01   #18
Registered User

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Idaho and California
Posts: 20
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

I am in the process of getting my ham license. It is some what difficult to understand the tecno babble at first. I do find it strange that they require testing and a license for each level but no hands on working with the radio is required. I did go to a local ham radio club meeting only to find that it was a bunch of guys trying to impress each other with there technical knowlege. In the end I realize how important this equipment will be to me so I will trudge through it and get my License.
__________________
bumoko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 11:14   #19
Registered User
 
svcambria's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Mexico (currently)
Boat: Panda 40 - S/V Cambria
Posts: 573
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

Gotta admit, I am confused. The OP writes that instruction on using the ham radio should be given:

Quote:
So can anyone tell my why, nowhere in the training, is anyone taught how to actually USE a radio?
Perhaps there should be a course to qualify people who are not interested in becoming hobbyists, but who would like to be able to use a radio effectively? I really think that this emphasis on technical material is keeping a lot of people from getting involved and, in the long run, not helping the hobby at all. In fact, it's rather like making it into a club that is somewhat difficult to join.
But then:

Quote:
(Responding to a post of "It's 99.999% worthless chatter on the nets, ham or otherwise. You could listen for and hour and all you'd have done is lost an hour of your life you'll never get back.") From the little listening I've done, that's been about my opinion....but the hams certainly think otherwise.
he doesn't accept what common use of the radio is actually going on. So which is the point - don't get instruction, or don't want to be using it anyway? Or - "I want it for use only on marine topics I am interested in"?

From all of this, I don't see why not just use marine SSB?

Michael
__________________
svcambria is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 12:56   #20
Registered User
 
Unicorn Dreams's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Clear Lake Marine Services - Seabrook, Texas
Boat: Gulfstar, Mark II Ketch, 43'
Posts: 2,359
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

Ham test aren't that hard since they took the boring Morse Code out of it.
Technician license takes maybe a week's study to pass the test..
__________________
Formerly Santana
The winds blow true,The skies stay blue,
Everyday is a good day for SAILING!!!!
Unicorn Dreams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 13:31   #21
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Camden, ME
Boat: A Thistle and a Hallberg-Rassy 36
Posts: 664
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash
Ham is a bit too wanky. The training seems to be structured more to shore up the cult of amateur radio than to facilitate communication.
As a ham, I'll have to admit that is true. In designating coveted bandspace for amateur radio operation, and cultivating the hobby, governments were not so interested in providing a way for people to communicate. They wanted to foster a body of people with the technical knowledge to support and advance electronics amd communication technology. Providing a practical means of communication, for cruisers or others, was not the intent - regardless of how we as cruisers may typically use it.

If by cult you mean a focus on the underlying technology of radio, I think thats a good thing. I too find most on the air ham to ham conversations forced and boring, but i really enjoy the act of making a distant contact and the technical underpinnings of the hobby. Being able to use my priveleges while cruising is a welcome bonus.
__________________
SoonerSailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 13:42   #22
Registered User
 
Kalinka1's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Toronto
Boat: Heritage 35
Posts: 302
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

Obviously you see a problem with the Ameture training. I would suggest then that maybe You should start a Proper use of Radio course for all types and makes of radio's. Then you would be part of the solution instead of part of complainers. I am a Ham. also use VHF and SSB etc etc. They all have problem users.
__________________
Kalinka1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 15:47   #23
Senior Cruiser
 
SkiprJohn's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Kea'au, Big Island, Hawaii
Boat: Cascade, Sloop, 42 - "Casual"
Posts: 14,192
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

I didn't weigh in on the other thread started but will just say that I've a lot of sailing experience and none of it required using a HAM radio. VHF is what I used for most contact. It used to require a station license but doesn't anymore. I don't care to talk with people other than my crew when I'm at sea so never thought a HAM radio or license necessary. In my opinion HAM is for people who like to talk with other HAM operators and want to learn about radios and frequencies. It's a hobby that serves a great purpose during times where emergency communication is needed. Many merchants and Navy folks took their landbased equipment aboard so that they and crew could talk with folks ashore. HAM started as a shore based hobby.

I don't really think I want an SSB either. I can't seem to find a real use for it aboard. It doesn't require anything but a license that you just pay for. If you want to have a form of emergency communication or talk with other mariners I'd say SSB would be good for you.

I do have a HAM tech license but have never used it. I may someday get my general license but only if I absolutely have nothing else to do and need it for the mental exercise.

Good luck in finding what you really want but I don't think HAM is it. And I wouldn't take your tack of trying to disparage a hobby that has filled the lives of many who have earned their license the hard way. Many current HAM operators still believe that they shouldn't allow HAM bands to be anything but code. Now that is really "old school".

kind regards,
__________________
John
SkiprJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 15:56   #24
Registered User
 
Fishspearit's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: FL
Posts: 576
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

Quote:
Originally Posted by canucksailor View Post
I was discussing the whole HAM qualification route with another cruiser last night. We both agreed that we had our radios for the purpose of communicating - not discovering how to build/tear down a radio, or to become radio hobbyists with a mind full of arcane jargon we can baffle non hobbyists with. Neither one of us cares about what is behind the knobs and dials.
I think that it is safe to say that, amongst boaters, most of us could care less about capacitors, resistors, V=I/r etc., etc.
So can anyone tell my why, nowhere in the training, is anyone taught how to actually USE a radio?
Perhaps there should be a course to qualify people who are not interested in becoming hobbyists, but who would like to be able to use a radio effectively? I really think that this emphasis on technical material is keeping a lot of people from getting involved and, in the long run, not helping the hobby at all. In fact, it's rather like making it into a club that is somewhat difficult to join.
I don't see it as being any different than getting a drivers license. You study all the rules and technical aspects, ie 'how far to park from a curb, what the legal alcohal limit is, whether to stop for a bus coming the other way on a two lane road,etc.', but the book doesn't teach you how to drive a car. You spend a little time in a car with someone and you figure it out. Same thing with a ham license, you learn the technical aspects to get your license and then you spend some time with another ham and learn how to use your radio.

Yes, hams are kind of a clique. It always has been. That spectrum of the radio band was reserved for people who want more than to just push a button and talk. If you just want to talk, pick up a telephone. If you just want to use a radio, buy a CB or use the marine ssb bands. But if you want to join the Ham club than you need to have a brain and be willing to study technical things.

35 years ago when I was a kid I use to always watch and listen to my grandfather talk on the Ham radio. I would ask if I could talk on it too, and he would hand me the beginners manual and say "study this and you can get a license" and like you I would cry and say "it's too hard, it's too technical, I don't need to know that stuff to talk on a radio" and he would tell me "too bad, you don't deserve it then". So when I became an adult I studied all the books and I learned morse code and I got my licenses, and the last few years of my grandfather's life I got to spend talking to him via Ham radio from 2000 miles away on my boat. It's a priceless memory because I worked hard for it. Now he's gone, I've got his call sign that has been in our family for 60 years, and yea, it is a club that is somewhat difficult to join and I think you need to study and learn the basics of radio theory & operation before you key the mike.
Unlike internet forums where any idiot can post there opinion, at least on the ham bands you know you'll be talking to someone who is either smart or willing to work hard.
__________________
Fishspearit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 16:10   #25
Senior Cruiser
 
roverhi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii, Carlsbad, CA
Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
Posts: 6,006
Send a message via Yahoo to roverhi
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

I didn't find the US Ham tests overly technical on electronics. I'm an electronics idiot but managed to pass the Technician and General Exam with a days practice, yes one day, on one of the online tutoring websites. It's been more than a year since I took the exams but it seemed most of the questions were on propagation, regulations, available frequencies, etc which are directly related to getting on the air. The techincal questions seemed to be closesly related to understanding what was happening when I pushed the mic key.

Still, the only way to get experience on the air is to get on the air. On my TransPac last summer, I talked on the Pacific Maritime Mobile net most every day as well as sending emails. First time I'd talked on the radio in more than 30 years. With a little practice managed to make quite a few contacts. I've never liked talking on the radio even back my flying days in the Navy, even changed plane types so I'd have a Nav. to do the talking. I'm just not comfortable and tend to get tongue tied. Still had no problems communicating with the nets. Talked with other hams all over the US when I felt like it and never had a problem with being put down for my obvious lack of experience.

As far as the code requirement, I never got beyond the 5wpm requirements of the old Novice class license. I've got a disability when it comes to code and just couldn't get beyond 5wpm despite spending many many hours trying. If the Ham world wants to shoot themselves in the foot, reinstate the code requirement. Glad to hear the code world is flourishing for those with the ability to work it. They won't have to ever worry about my fist taking up space in their spectrum.

Many many years ago I was a pirate on the Ham Bands in SoPac. Wasn't anywhere near where I could take the appropriate tests to get a license and wouldn't have been able to pass the General Code requirements in any case. I was still able to learn how to communicate just by doing it and with the help of other yachties.

If you want no brainer voice communications, Marine HF is the way to go. The problem is there aren't a whole lot of people to talk with. Even fewer with Satellite systems unless you have their phone number. The voice communication on the ham radio are where it's at.

It sounds like you've got a chip on your shoulder about the ham license requirements. Have you actually taken the exams and gotten your license or just listening to the nay sayers?? It is no big thing getting a US General Ham License and well worth the effort especially since you'll need most of the things you'll learn to pass the test.
__________________
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
roverhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 18:37   #26
cruiser
 
canucksailor's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: beautiful anchorages
Boat: Dufour 34, 1975
Posts: 347
Send a message via Yahoo to canucksailor Send a message via Skype™ to canucksailor
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

Quote:
Can't resist: "Marine SSB Radio for IDI-Yachts"
Smart guy. I've seen it actually, just never picked up a copy.
__________________
canucksailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 19:29   #27
Registered User
 
svcambria's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Mexico (currently)
Boat: Panda 40 - S/V Cambria
Posts: 573
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

Well, to change the laws of the US, and international convention (if you wish), consider a grass roots program; a good model for this would be from the very protectors of ham privilege:

Grassroots

As they say about the speed of light and conservation of angular momentum, etc., "It's not just a good idea, it's the law."

Organize. Petition. Hold demonstrations. Show the bureaucracy how Mr. and Ms. America really feel. Only then can we have people rightfully running around on the airways truly unaware of what they are doing...or who else they are effecting...

Michael
__________________
svcambria is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 19:36   #28
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Whangaparaoa,NZ
Boat: 63 ft John Spencer Schooner
Posts: 956
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

Another vote for satphone.
__________________

dana-tenacity is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 19:47   #29
Moderator
 
Adelie's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: La Ciudad de la Misión Didacus de Alcalá en Alta California, Virreinato de Nueva España
Boat: Cal 20
Posts: 4,639
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

Quote:
Originally Posted by canucksailor View Post

I was discussing the whole HAM qualification route with another cruiser last night. We both agreed that we had our radios for the purpose of communicating - not discovering how to build/tear down a radio, or to become radio hobbyists with a mind full of arcane jargon we can baffle non hobbyists with. Neither one of us cares about what is behind the knobs and dials.
I think that it is safe to say that, amongst boaters, most of us could care less about capacitors, resistors, V=I/r etc., etc.
So can anyone tell my why, nowhere in the training, is anyone taught how to actually USE a radio?
Perhaps there should be a course to qualify people who are not interested in becoming hobbyists, but who would like to be able to use a radio effectively? I really think that this emphasis on technical material is keeping a lot of people from getting involved and, in the long run, not helping the hobby at all. In fact, it's rather like making it into a club that is somewhat difficult to join.
Point in fact - my friend told me that he has NEVER had an on-air conversation with someone - that he has only ever used his radio for weather, and email. I think that's rather indicative of where the HAM enthusiasts are, (forgive the pun), missing the boat.
Your thoughts?
I believe several things play into this.

I think the FCC created the amatuer service in part to foster technical innovation across a broad group of people.

Also by having the group spread across the country they were available as an emergency communications network.

In the past no one could afford to buy a radio, they had to build their own, which meant that only technically inclined folks got into it.

Times have changed, radios are now reasonably affordable, but the old systems are still in place, and the old guard is still around and not interested in getting shoved out of the way. They are also the ones keeping most of this going, so I'm disinclined to boot them.

The testing that is done for licenses are gear towards the things that don't change:
The basic underlying physics
Safety issues
Regulatory issues,

Radio operations vary between radio model and over time as technology develops. Any test that addressed radio operation would be somewhat geared to the technology of the time the test was written and towards a specific radio or group of radios.

Someone mentioned a specific ARRL book to get in the other thread, you might check it out.

Finally regarding the potential for a class about operation. As I have noticed in a number of different endeavors: the folks that are really good at something and passionate enough to teach it for a pittance or for free aren't necessarily very good instructors.
__________________
A house is but a boat so poorly built and so firmly run aground no one would think to try and refloat it.
SailboatData
Adelie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-07-2011, 20:13   #30
cruiser
 
canucksailor's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: beautiful anchorages
Boat: Dufour 34, 1975
Posts: 347
Send a message via Yahoo to canucksailor Send a message via Skype™ to canucksailor
Re: Opinions of Non-HAM Sailors Solicited

Quote:
Organize. Petition. Hold demonstrations. Show the bureaucracy how Mr. and Ms. America really feel. Only then can we have people rightfully running around on the airways truly unaware of what they are doing...or who else they are effecting...
oooooo.....I've never advocated that people aren't trained, just suggested that perhaps the training needs to be updated in some manner, and that using the radio needs to be addressed. Not, btw to answer several remarks to this effect, on a model specific basis, that I admit would be difficult if not nearly impossible.
Adelie had a number of comments I can agree with..but his remarks about the old guard are quite on point. The old guard perhaps needs to look at updating a bit, rather than looking wistfully at the loss of a morse requirement.
__________________

__________________
canucksailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 23:05.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.